A few years ago I attended a gin making class at Adnams, redistilling their vodka with botanicals. I subsequently made a compound, or bathtub, gin at home by steeping botanicals in vodka. For this I followed an article on the Guardian and substituted some of the botanicals from Adnams course.
Recently I decided to break this down into the individual elements – a juniper vodka and single botanical tinctures – so I could make different gin styles by the glass. This will also allow me to better understand different botanicals, which is why I have included it on my ale blog. I will use the tinctures and their impact on gin to appreciate the aromas and flavours that alcohol extracts and ultimately could bring to ale. I could add drops of the tinctures at bottling or add the botanicals to the ale post primary fermentation. I will probably use some of the tinctures to make vermouth at somepoint also.
Based on the weight of botanicals that went into each glass of the compound gin I calculated the weight required for the juniper vodka and the tinctures. 18g of juniper were steeped in 750ml of vodka for a week and 5g of each botanical in 75ml of vodka for a week on average; wet herbs and fruit peels had less, very hard seeds like grains of paradise had longer. I used twice the weight of wet botanicals to account for water.
The flavoured vodka can be filtered through a carbon filter to remove the colour but I have never bothered. I like the colour and imagine I would loose, dilute or contaminate the flavoured vodkas by running them through a filter.
For a fairly earthy, spicy, licorice-y gin I used the following:
- 35ml juniper vodka
- 2ml angelica root tincture
- 1.5ml bitter orange peel tincture
- 1.5ml cardamom tincture
- 1ml cassia bark tincture
- 1ml coriander seed tincture
- 1ml fennel seed tincture
- 1.5ml green anise
- 1ml licorice
- 1ml orris root
- 0.5ml rosemary
- 1ml thyme